Pennsylvania native Kyle Giersdorf won $3 million on Sunday for the top spot in New York’s global Fornite online video game tournament.
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The 16-year-old native defeated more than 100 players competing for $30 million in total prize money. Giersdorf, whose player name is “Bugha,” won the solo finals by scoring 59 points, dominating 26 above his nearest competitor “psalm,” according to the Fortnite World Cup Leaderboard.
The teen gushed at his win during an interview after the event at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York.
“Words can’t even explain it. I’m just so happy,” Giersdorf said, “Everything I’ve done, the grind, it’s all paid off. It’s just insane.”
Along with Giersdorf, two other professional video-gamers became millionaires from their talent this weekend. Sixteen-year-old Emil Bergquist Pedersen from Norway known as “Nyhrox” in the game and 17-year-old David “Aqua” Wang from Austria, won the Fortnite World Cup duo championship, beating 50 other teams to share a $3 million prize.
Game developer Epic Games released Fortnite in 2017 with a free-to-play scheme, where many players interact and collaborate during a match for survival. According to Epic, it is one of the most widely-played video games with over 250 million players. According to Reuters, Fortnite’s popularity has helped Epic Games reach a $15-billion-valuation last year.
A report released earlier this year cites that global revenues from esports, or professional video gaming, will reach $1.1 billion in 2019, up 27 percent since last year, as a result from ad sponsorship, as well as brand sponsorship and media rights.
In total, esports will generate $152.1 billion in 2019, up 9.6 percent over last year, according to a report by gaming analytics firm Newzoo.
Enthusiasm for the game has given way to dance crazes, memes and the professional competition.